The focus of the article is the tradition of multi-generational military families, with a narrow cast on Flag officers (Generals and Admirals) and their sons serving in Iraq – Lieutenant General Odierno and his son Captain Odierno are the on the cover and lead off the article with their story. There is also a lot of time spent on Lieutenant General Conway and his two sons, both Captains that served WITH their father while he was Commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Unit in the run to Baghdad. You really need to read the whole thing as other Generals' stories are covered, and a nice review of the history of the “Family Business” rounds out the article.
Oh, and yes, I saw the following “McCain Worship” (not to be confused with “
There are some great data here known as common knowledge to those in uniform, but are most likely a surprise to many outside the military community. I’ll update when it is available online, but I will quote sections below. Before we go there, I have to point out that I am giving Newsweek only partial credit here; let's say an 85. The reason? Like they couldn’t help themselves, they had to throw in discredited liberal boilerplate here and there that just have no place in this article. It was almost like the editor said, “Hey, we need some negative stuff in here. Go find it and cut-n-paste it here and there…”
I’ll outline it at the end of the post in an “ERRATA SHEET.” Let's cover the good stuff first.
What is good about this, is that it personalizes the U.S. military and its leadership. In a time where there is a lot of “do as I say, not as I do” going around, it shows that unlike the Hollywierd stereotype, though not perfect men, U.S. Flag officers on average are not what many think; and most walk-the-walk.
LT. GEN. Ray Odierno comes from a military family. His father was a WWII Army sergeant. His son Tony served as a platoon commander with the First Cavalry; Ray served as commander of the Fourth Infantry Division in Iraq. As a family, they shared joyful news from the front. Ray’s wife, Linda, was asleep in a hotel room in Lubbock, Texas on Dec. 13, 2003, when her husband woke her, calling from his base in Tikrit. “Turn on the TV,” … it was still a secret that his men had captured Saddam Hussein.
not all calls from the war zone are so happy. About eight months later .. the phone rang. It was General Odierno’s old friend Maj. Gen. Peter Chiarelli, commander of the First Cav. .. “Tony was in an ambush, and he was injured pretty seriously.” The medics weren’t sure if they could save Tony’s left arm. … Ray Odierno recalls his reaction when General Chiarelli called him … ”The first thing I thought was, ‘I just wanna get home’.” On the drive back, Chiarelli called again. “Tony just finished surgery, and he lost his left arm.” Odierno could feel that Chiarelli was crushed by being the bearer of such bad tidings, and he tried to reassure him. ‘You’re doing a great job over there. I understand the risks and Tony understands the risks, and we’ll work through this together.” Odierno tried to stay focused: his son was alive.
General Odierno is one of about 300 Army generals in the U.S. military. About a third of them have sons or daughters who have served or are serving in Iraq of Afghanistan.They also attack, wait for it, Michael Moore! Quick, get me my smelling salts!
Contrary to the impression left by moviemaker Michael Moore in “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Congressmen do sometimes send their children to war. Three senators and six members of the House have children in uniform, and four of them have served in Iraq of Afghanistan.Let look at the percentages, shall we?
Senate = 3%For percentage of "military families," at first blush that looks fair for the Senate, the House...well...notsomuch. What would be nice to see is of that 3 and 6 members, what is the Republican vs. Democrat breakdown. Because it isn't mentioned, something tells me that it is overwhelmingly Republican, but that is just because I have a bias against media-bias. Oh, don't forget that former Attny. General Ashcroft's son is a Navy Officer.
House of Reps = 1.4%
Mid-post update: I don't know where the 3 and 6 came from, but I did find a reference from
In the same sidebar, Rep. John Kline of Minnesota (a retired Marine Colonel) made a great comparison of Congress to the military.
In the military, a persons word is his gold standard. “In Politics,” Kline says, “generally speaking, people say, ‘Yea, you can count on me.” Then somebody else presents something to them and they change their mind. It’s just a different culture.”Indeed.
Of the hundred or so generals whose children are serving or have served in Iraq or Afghanistan, one is a mother. Brig. Den. Carla G. Hawley-Bowland is commander of the Europe Regional Medical Command … her son Scott went to Iraq as part of the Colorado National Guards’s 109th Medical Battalion. As a middle-schooler playing soccer, Scott had been teased about being a military brat. “Your mother wears combat boots,” a player yelled on the field. “Yeah,” Scott replied. “So?”Now there is a civilian-military divide for you. Snicker.
”I’ve always had a degree of resentment against Ivy League schools for preventing recruiters on campus,” says Sen. John McCain. “It is the height of elitist snobbery.” McCain’s argument for letting ROTC back on Ivy League campuses is “not because it gives us career officers, but because it gives future leaders of our country military experience.”Now there is the John McCain I like. More! More! More!!
More myth busting (this article gets Kudos for this).
In the Third ID, which bore the brunt of the early fighting in Iraq, re-enlistment rates are twice what was expected.
..Young married Marines re-enlist at a greater rate than unmarried troops. The only explanation is that for many, the Marine Corps is a world in which they with to raise their families, despite the dangers and frequent moves.
There is no doubt that the military can encourage family values. There are undoubtedly a few fathers right out of Pat Conroy’s “I've had issues with
The Great Santini,” … but there are many more who fit the model of the Conways, or Ray and Tony Odierno, father and son trading tips on body armor and inexpressible love as they passed an ancient torch, in a tent in Kuwait, on the way to war.
Not that the good news is out of the way…
But is also underscores the isolation of the military from the rest of society. Increasingly, it seems, American is divided between the vast minority who do not serve and the tiny minority who do. The shared sacrifice of WWII is but a distand memory. During WWII, 6 percent of Americans were in uniform; today, the Pentagon says, the figure is four tenths of 1 percent.What is the point here? WWII was full mobilization for roughly half a decade. Is that what they want? The historical norm is a exceptionally small military. Heck, our many of our Founders
”The whole country’s undergoing patriotism lite, “ says CharlesWell, in all respect for Professor Moskos, his theory is bunk. Unless you had co-ed showers like
Moskos, a Northwestern University professor generally recognized as the nations’s leading military sociologists. Moskos suggests on solution would be for leaders to set a better example with their own children. “If Jenna Bush of Chelsea Clinton joined the military,” he says, “the recruiting problems would be over.”
Military sons tend to spout worthy bromides about duty when asked why they follow their fathers to war. But their more personal motivations aren’t too hard to divine. Combat has been a test (in some cultures the test) of manhood for millennia. There is no better way to win a fathers respect than to defy death just the way he did.More bunk. Maybe that is what your Freudian therapist told you, but tell that to any Wardroom and you will get nothing but laughs and scorn. Silly comment.
… blacks and Hispanics make up a disproportionably large number of our servicemen and women, and a disproportionately small number of the top brass….What in the hell does that old saw have to do with the price of tea in China? Just thrown in there for no reason but to meet someone’s quota of “diversity issues.” This has been
Army officers for some years have passed around copies of “Come on people. That book almost 40 years old. I know I am a Navy guy, but I’ve never heard of it. More Boomer self-focus. Get over yourselves…geeezzzeee.
Once an Eagle,” a 1968 novel by Anton Myrer about a duty-bound Army officer who tries to rise above back-stabbing civilian hippies.